Financial Aid Scam Warning
But this year, things will be a little different. The University of Missouri is sending students a word of warning.
Some MU students approached the financial aid office after getting a letter regarding financial aid from the College Financial Advisory Company. The letter contained the University's logo and was similar to other financial aid mail, but the $48 processing fee request sent students a red flag.
"We all know that you can apply for financial aid for free. All federal, state, and institutional aid can be applied for free," said Joe Camille, Financial Aid Director.
University officials alerted students of a possible scam.
"We will send the company a request that they stop using the University of Missouri-Columbia's name on their letter as they have not received permission to do that," said Camille.
Students were worried about the report.
"I think it's pretty shady because students work really hard to get through school, and we don't have very much time either, and then you have these people scamming us and we don't have time to double-check all of this paper work," said Cody Roberts, student.
Financial aid officials notified the University Police Department and filed a complaint with the Attorney General's office.
Applying for financial aid is always free. Students should be cautious if a company asks for money.
KOMU contacted the College Financial Advisory company via e-mail to ask about the processing fee. Although they did not directly answer the question, here is its response:
"CFA properly and lawfully acquires (purchases) student names from numerous private independent companies. Please be assured that CFA strongly follows the Privacy Act Laws and does not share students' personal information with any outside organizations. CFA properly and lawfully acquires (purchases) student names from numerous private independent companies. Please be assured that CFA strongly follows the Privacy Act Laws and does not share students' personal information with any outside organizations.
CFA is a professional and resourceful organization dedicated to assist students to receive the maximum available Merit and Need-based financial aid funds. Studies show a large number of students do not apply to all available financial aid programs and the CFA organization can greatly increase students' chances to obtain financial aid funds. The CFA Processing Center Department provides students a comprehensive guidebook package with the following information:
Explains available Federal, State and Local and National Financial aid programs
Provides strategies, guidelines and tips on how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Explains the financial aid myths and misconceptions
Warns students about scams
Explains college education tax credits
Provides strategies to win merit based scholarships
Provides guidelines to write essays
Illustrates how to ask for a recommendation letter
Provides application checklist
Provides an extensive list of available financial aid sources with complete descriptions, qualifications and contact information"
Complaints can be made at the Attorney General's website. CFA can be contacted at email@example.com.